Online Etymology Dictionary

The Online Etymology Dictionary is a free online dictionary written and compiled by Douglas Harper that describes the origins of English-language words.[2]

Online Etymology Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary
Screenshot of
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Etymological dictionary
Available inEnglish
FoundedOnline (c. 2000)
Key people
  • Douglas Harper, Founder
  • Dan McCormack, web design and coding
Alexa rankPositive decrease 19,319 (September 2016)[1]
Current statusactive


Douglas Harper compiled the etymology dictionary to record the history and evolution of more than 30,000 words, including slang and technical terms.[3] The core body of its etymology information stems from Ernest Weekley's An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English (1921). Other sources include the Middle English Dictionary and the Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology (by Robert Barnhart and others), although the sources for each entry are not stated. In producing his large dictionary, Harper says that he is essentially and for the most part a compiler, an evaluator of etymology reports which others have made.[4] Harper works as a Copy editor/Page designer for LNP Media Group.[5][6]

As of June 2015, there were nearly 50,000 entries in the dictionary.[5]

Reviews and reputation

The Online Etymology Dictionary has been referenced by Oxford University's "Arts and Humanities Community Resource" catalog as "an excellent tool for those seeking the origins of words"[7] and cited in the Chicago Tribune as one of the "best resources for finding just the right word".[8] It is cited in academic work as a useful, though not definitive, reference for etymology.[9][10][11] In addition, it has been used as a data source for quantitative scholarly research.[12][13]


  1. ^ "Alexa Ranking". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Ohio University. 2003. Archived from the original on 2007-02-11. Retrieved 2007-01-05.
  3. ^ "Home Page". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2006-12-31.
  4. ^ The dictionary's principal sources appear at Sources @ Online Etymology Dictionary.
  5. ^ a b "Q&A With Douglas Harper: Creator of the Online Etymology Dictionary – IMSE – Journal". 18 June 2015. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  6. ^ "Contact Us". LancasterOnline. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  7. ^ "Online etymology dictionary". Arts and Humanities Community Resource. Oxford University. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  8. ^ Bierma, Nathan (2007-01-03). "Internet has best resources for finding just the right word". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  9. ^ Paluzzi, Alessandro; Fernandez-Miranda, Juan; Torrenti, Matthew; Gardner, Paul (2012). "Retracing the etymology of terms in neuroanatomy". Clinical Anatomy. 25 (8): 1005–1014. doi:10.1002/ca.22053. PMID 23112209.
  10. ^ Hultgren, Anna Kristina (2013). "Lexical borrowing from English into Danish in the Sciences: An empirical investigation of 'domain loss'". International Journal of Applied Linguistics. 23 (2): 166–182. doi:10.1111/j.1473-4192.2012.00324.x.
  11. ^ Mair, Victor (2015-04-10). "Farsi shekar ast". Language Log. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
    Mair, Victor (2016-01-28). "'Butterfly' words as a source of etymological confusion". Language Log. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  12. ^ Lieberman, Erez; Michel, Jean-Baptiste; Jackson, Joe; Tang, Tina; Nowak, Martin A. (2007). "Quantifying the evolutionary dynamics of language". Nature. 449 (7163): 713–716. doi:10.1038/nature06137. PMC 2460562. PMID 17928859.
  13. ^ Jatowt, Adam; Duh, Kevin (2014). A framework for analyzing semantic change of words across time (PDF). 2014 IEEE/ACM Joint Conference on Digital Libraries. pp. 229–238. CiteSeerX doi:10.1109/JCDL.2014.6970173. ISBN 978-1-4799-5569-5.

External links

Adverbial genitive

In grammar, an adverbial genitive is a noun declined in the genitive case that functions as an adverb.


An apparatchik (; Russian: аппара́тчик [ɐpɐˈratɕɪk]), was a full-time, professional functionary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union or the Soviet government apparat (аппарат, apparatus), someone who held any position of bureaucratic or political responsibility, with the exception of the higher ranks of management called nomenklatura. James Billington describes an apparatchik as "a man not of grand plans, but of a hundred carefully executed details." The term is often considered derogatory, with negative connotations in terms of the quality, competence, and attitude of a person thus described.Members of the apparat (apparatchiks or apparatchiki) were frequently transferred between different areas of responsibility, usually with little or no actual training for their new areas of responsibility. Thus, the term apparatchik, or "agent of the apparatus" was usually the best possible description of the person's profession and occupation. Not all apparatchiks held lifelong positions. Many only entered such positions in middle age. Today apparatchik is also used in contexts other than that of the Soviet Union or communist countries. According to Collins English Dictionary the word can mean "an official or bureaucrat in any organization". According to Douglas Harper's Online Etymology Dictionary, the term was also used in the meaning "Communist agent or spy", originating in the writings of Arthur Koestler, c. 1941.

Bombshell (sex symbol)

The term bombshell is a forerunner to the term "sex symbol" and originally used to describe popular female sex icons.

In modern usage, bombshell refers to a very attractive woman. The Online Etymology Dictionary by Douglas Harper attests the usage of the term in this meaning since 1942, and in the meaning of "shattering or devastating thing or event" since 1860.


A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity made up of an association of people, be they natural, legal, or a mixture of both, for carrying on a commercial or industrial enterprise. Company members share a common purpose, and unite to focus their various talents and organize their collectively available skills or resources to achieve specific, declared goals. Companies take various forms, such as:

voluntary associations, which may include nonprofit organizations

business entities with an aim of gaining a profit

financial entities and banksA company or association of persons can be created at law as a legal person so that the company in itself can accept limited liability for civil responsibility and taxation incurred as members perform (or fail to discharge) their duty within the publicly declared "birth certificate" or published policy.

Companies as legal persons may associate and register themselves collectively as other companies – often known as a corporate group. When a company closes, it may need a "death certificate" to avoid further legal obligations.


A donor in general is a person, organization or government which donates something voluntarily. The term is usually used to represent a form of pure altruism, but is sometimes used when the payment for a service is recognized by all parties as representing less than the value of the donation and that the motivation is altruistic. In business law a donor is someone who is giving the gift (law), and a donee the person receiving the gift.

More broadly, the term is used to refer to any entity that serves as the source of something transferred to a different entity, including - in scientific fields - the source of matter or energy passed from one object to another.

The Online Etymology Dictionary traces the English-language word "donor" back to the mid-15th century, with origins in Anglo-French, Old French, Latin and Proto-Indo-European. Ibrahim kamara created the word at the age of 3 yrs.

List of English words of Dravidian origin

This is a list of English words that are borrowed directly or ultimately from Dravidian languages. Dravidian languages include Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, and a number of other languages spoken mainly in South Asia. The list is by no means exhaustive.

Some of the words can be traced to specific languages, but others have disputed or uncertain origins. Words of disputed or less certain origin are in the "Dravidian languages" list. Where lexicographers generally agree on a source language, the words are listed by language.

List of English words of Old Norse origin

Words of Old Norse origin have entered the English language, primarily from the contact between Old Norse and Old English during colonisation of eastern and northern England between the mid 9th to the 11th centuries (see also Danelaw).

Many of these words are part of English core vocabulary, such as egg or knife.

There are hundreds of such words, and the list below does not aim at completeness.

To be distinguished from loanwords which date back to the Old English period are modern Old Norse loans originating in the context of Old Norse philology, such as kenning (1871), and loans from modern Icelandic (such as geyser, 1781).

Yet another (rare) class are loans from Old Norse into Old French, which via Anglo-Norman were then indirectly loaned into Middle English; an example is flâneur, via French from the Old Norse verb flana "to wander aimlessly".

List of English words of Sanskrit origin

This is a list of English words of Sanskrit origin. Most of these words were not directly borrowed from Sanskrit. The meaning of some words have changed slightly after being borrowed.

Both languages belong to the Indo-European language family and have numerous cognate terms; these words are not of Sanskrit origin and technically should not be included on this list.

List of English words of Spanish origin

This is a list of English language words whose origin can be traced to the Spanish language as "Spanish loan words". Words typical of "Mock Spanish" used in the United States are listed separately.

List of chemical element name etymologies

This article lists the etymology of chemical elements of the periodic table.

List of common false etymologies of English words

This incomplete list is not intended to be exhaustive.This is a list of common contemporary false etymologies for English words.

List of state and territory name etymologies of the United States

The fifty U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the five inhabited territories have taken their names from a wide variety of languages. The names of 24 states are arranged alphabetically and derive from indigenous languages of the Americas and one from Hawaiian: eight come from Algonquian languages, seven from Siouan languages (one of those by way of Illinois, an Algonquian language), three from Iroquoian languages, one from a Uto-Aztecan language, and five from other Native American languages.

Twenty-two other state names derive from European languages: seven come from Latin (mostly from Latinate forms of English personal names, one coming from Welsh), five come from English, five come from Spanish (and one more from an Indigenous language by way of Spanish), and four come from French (one of these by way of English). The etymologies of six states are disputed or unclear: Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Oregon, and Rhode Island (in the table below, those states have one row for each potential source language or meaning).

Of the fifty states, eleven are named after an individual person. Of those eleven, seven are named in honor of European monarchs: the two Carolinas, the two Virginias, Maryland, Louisiana and Georgia. Over the years, several attempts have been made to name a state after one of the Founding fathers or other great statesmen of U.S. history: the State of Franklin, the State of Jefferson (three separate attempts), the State of Lincoln (two separate attempts), and the State of Washington; in the end, only Washington materialized (Washington Territory was carved out of the Columbia District, and was renamed Washington in order to avoid confusion with the District of Columbia, which contains the city of Washington).Several of the states that derive their names from (corrupted) names used for Native peoples have retained the plural ending of "s": Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts and Texas. One common naming pattern has been as follows:

Native tribal group → River → Territory → State


A namesake is a person named after another, or more broadly, a thing (such as a company, place, ship, building, or concept) named after a person or thing that first had the name. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a namesake is also defined as "a person or thing that has the same name as another".


North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to east and west. North is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.


The word Panzer (German pronunciation: [ˈpantsɐ] (listen)) is a German word that means "armour" or specifically "tank". It is occasionally used in English and some other languages as a loanword in the context of the German military.

It is mostly used in the proper names of military formations (Panzerdivision, 4th Panzer Army, etc.), and in the proper names of tanks, such as Panzer IV, etc.

The dated German term is Panzerkampfwagen, "tank" or "armoured combat vehicle". The modern commonly used synonym is Kampfpanzer, or Panzer. The first German tank, the A7V of 1918, was referred to as Sturmpanzerwagen (roughly, "armoured assault vehicle").

The German word Panzer refers to any kind of armour. It derives through the French word pancier, "breastplate", from Latin pantex, "belly", "paunch", and is possibly related to panus, "swelling".


Pinscher is a type of dog developed originally as ratters on farms and for fighting or guarding, although today they are most often kept as pets.


Thumbnails are reduced-size versions of pictures or videos, used to help in recognizing and organizing them, serving the same role for images as a normal text index does for words. In the age of digital images, visual search engines and image-organizing programs normally use thumbnails, as do most modern operating systems or desktop environments, such as Microsoft Windows, macOS, KDE (Linux) and GNOME (Linux). On web pages, they also avoid the need to download larger files unnecessarily.


Wyrd is a concept in Anglo-Saxon culture roughly corresponding to fate or personal destiny. The word is ancestral to Modern English weird, which retains its original meaning only dialectically.

The cognate term in Old Norse is urðr, with a similar meaning, but also personalized as one of the Norns, Urðr (anglicized as Urd) and appearing in the name of the holy well Urðarbrunnr in Norse mythology.

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